State of Florida climatologist and Florida State University Professor James J. O’Brien has won the 2006 Medalist Award from the Florida Academy of Sciences. Each year, the award is presented to a Florida resident who has contributed in an outstanding manner to the promotion of the scientific research, to the stimulation of interest in the sciences, or to the diffusion of scientific knowledge.
The award will be formally presented at a banquet in Melbourne on March 10 during the Florida Academy of Sciences’ 70th annual meeting. As part of the award, O’Brien will be invited back to the 71st annual meeting in 2007 as a guest speaker.
O’Brien is FSU’s Distinguished Robert O. Lawton Professor of Meteorology and Oceanography and the director of FSU’s Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS). A member of FSU’s faculty for more than 35 years and perhaps best known for his early, basic research into El Niño, O’Brien has been the recipient of myriad professional honors and citations. He is a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Foreign Fellow in the Russian Academy of Science and a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, among many others.
Last December, the Japanese Oceanographic Society (JOS) selected O’Brien as a recipient of its 2006 "Uda Prize" in recognition of his long-term contributions as a JOS member, particularly through his education and support of young people from Japan. He was the first non-Japanese scientist to receive the prize.